This is a pretty scary time to be alive. From a little over a week ago where there were scattered stories of this virus, it was easy to distance ourselves from the reality of it, and now, it’s here. We’re in self-quarantines, learning to social distance, and being extra careful about the need to go out and how to operate in the world. It’s a pretty giant shift to culture. While it has been a blessing to many, to have time to unplug and press pause on the constant of work, many of us have the fear in the back of our minds. To be honest, I was not too worried at the start. It was a virus, I just had to be mindful of washing my hands more and not touch my face. Then more and more reports started coming in, it wasn’t just deadly for the elderly, but for people my age as well. Then Disneyland shut down, and we knew it was only a matter of time before Disney World would close as well.
The voice of fear started to get a foothold in my mind.
Fear is not a bad thing; it’s a survival instinct inside of us that allows us to move from something unsafe. The issue begins when that fear starts to control us. Or better said, the true danger is when fear begins to consume us. It’s easy to let this happen, with a constant stream of news and unlimited access to what might happen, our minds give into the negative unknowns and we begin into a downward spiral. That’s the danger of fear, when we let it consume our thoughts, we get stuck and the thing we were afraid of tears us apart.
So, what do we do? What happens when the fears creep in?
The danger is real, I am not here to say, “don’t worry about it! It’s all good! You should go out and shake every hand you see!” That’s dumb. Listen to the experts, adhere to the precautions, this will take time to truly stop this.
What I want to talk about, is that we need to have faith in fear.
One of my go-to books in scripture is Habakkuk. The reason why this has been a go-to? In my life I have gone through many seasons where I was frustrated and afraid of the direction God was taking me. I love Habakkuk because, not only does it fulfill my hipster nature of liking things that aren’t always well-known (sips cup of some bitter and warm tea), but this prophet was really angsty and open with God. I like that. I’ve known a lot of people in church circles that acted like I could never vent to God or cry out in frustration. Habakkuk straight up comes to God with complaints.
“How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?”
This is the opening words in the text, how fitting for the current situation we are all in? There are many times where we may find ourselves in a moment like this; you may be in that moment now. The best part?
“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”
God always responds, because he is with you.
Habakkuk was having a crisis moment, he had a great deal of fear, yet I think there is a key in this text. He still had faith, even when he felt like God didn’t care, he still chose to cry out because there was faith in his heart. God responded, this is old testament God, there were certain ceremonies and practices to go through to actually hear and speak to God. Habakkuk chose faith before the veil was torn, so why do we not run to God with the same passion? In moments of fear and the unknown, we need to have passionate faith.
This book challenges me to have a passionate faith. To trust that even in my darkest moments and crisis, God is there. God is here, waiting for you to take that step of faith. To speak to him, to enter into a conversation with him, building a deeper relationship with him. This won’t be a conversation that you’re used to, but the way we can communicate is through scripture. It’s the way I am comforted and reminded to cling to God in moments of struggle, because I am able to read the testimony of Habakkuk and others.
The way this book ends has a lasting impact and perfect response when we find ourselves facing fear. Habakkuk turns from complaining to prayer, speaking about despite the struggles and challenges he has and will face, he ends by saying this:
“I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”
Use this moment in life, where all has been shut down and we are to stay in our homes for extended periods of time, use this moment to deepen your faith. We need to have faith in the midst of this fear. I don’t understand why things are happening in this way, but I do know that God is giving us an opportunity to grow and develop deeper relationships with him and others.
Be intentional. Pray more. Have dinner with your tribe in your social distancing (staying safe and in the CDC guidelines of course). Create; in your art, music, writing, Lego building and mixology, just create. Use this time to have faith in the midst of fear. God is doing something, even though we may not understand it yet, he is and always will be working in all things.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can tweet memes at him on Twitter @joshua_thomas__ or follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__